President Donald Trump and his circle have endlessly demonstrated their deadly indifference to the coronavirus, which has now claimed the lives of over 225,000 Americans. Despite polls indicating Trump’s stance of downplaying the virus is not to his benefit, with 57 percent of voters trusting Biden on COVID-19 versus only 40 percent trusting Trump, he continues to reject science and his top infectious-disease experts, ignore guidelines and host events that are the perfect environment for spreading the virus. Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff, nonchalantly stated in a CNN interview, “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” The White House has made it clear that they are going to continue hosting high-risk rallies and events despite the suggestions of epidemiological experts.
So why does a president who is losing in nearly every poll, including ones on confidence in handling the pandemic, continue to demonstrate his indifference towards the most deadly virus this country has seen since the pandemic of 1918? At first, you might guess that he flaunts the insignificance of this virus to appease a mask-hating, regulation-fearing voter base. If this is his strategy, it is not a very strong one, as appealing to only 40 percent of the population is not a reliable pathway to victory.
So why is a currently trailing candidate flaunting a losing mindset? Why is he continuing to act like the death of nearly a quarter of a million Americans (and more every day) is nothing to be concerned over? The real reason for Trump’s ignoring all the red flags indicating the severity of this situation is that he is a self-obsessed, arrogant narcissist who doesn’t value any life that doesn’t benefit his own agenda. At this point in the virus’ progress, to admit its severity would be to admit his failure to protect the nation from it. Even now that he has himself contracted the virus and survived it, its risks seem to have had no real impact on his psyche.
Trump and his circle have sought to carry on business as usual as if we were not all living through the greatest pandemic since 1918 and the greatest economic depression since the Great Depression of the 1930s. We can simply look back a few months and compare the party conventions back in August to see the stark contrast between how Democrats and how the now Trumpian Republicans are handling this dark time in our history.
At the DNC, the Democrats put together an event that followed all COVID-19 guidelines, a mostly virtual experience centered around finding unity in a time of so much uncertainty. They focused on what we as a country need to do in order to rise out of this situation stronger and more united. They presented a case for Joe Biden as someone with empathy, who has lost family members of his own and can relate to those who have now lost loved ones to the virus because of Donald Trump’s failure to act. They presented Joe Biden as someone to unite us out of this troubling moment in our nation’s history.
The RNC presented a very different image. This event had no focus on any substantial policy platforms or plans to lead us out of this pandemic, but was instead a celebration of Trump with superlatives like, “A visionary,” “The richest man in the world” and “The guardian of America.” Trump and the party that stands in lockstep with him have no plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump stands in office for the attention, for the compliments from his spineless Republican colleagues and for the worshipping from his legion of devout supporters.
Trump is not a man who fights for anyone but himself. So why should we be surprised that he continues to prance across the nation hosting events that have been linked to COVID-19 outbreaks? He continues to host rallies without social distancing and with his supporters mostly without masks. Instead of conceding that we are in the middle of a historic pandemic, he would rather project a sense of normalcy and ignore all the failures of his administration in handling the virus and the subsequent economic crash. Some had hoped that following his positive coronavirus test and hospitalization, he would have a change of tone regarding the virus and the over 210,000 Americans dead at the time. But that is not something he is capable of. He does not value human life that does not benefit him. He has consistently demonstrated that he is incapable of empathizing. Say what you want about Biden. He’s not my favorite either. But at least he is a decent human being who is capable of empathizing with others’ loss and suffering. Donald Trump knows no suffering, only greed and self satisfaction.